Biggles in Spain

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Biggles in Spain

Postby kylie_koyote » 06 Jun 2017, 14:37

I've always been puzzled by one line at the very end of Biggles in Spain and I'm hoping you lovely folk can help me figure out what it's about. This is from right at the end, after they've just barely squeaked into France by crashing through the customs gate.

To me, a "roundabout" is a traffic circle / rotary. But I don't think Fred Summers is comparing a plane crash to heavy traffic. What's a "roundabout" in this context?

Summers joined him, feeling himself tenderly. 'I knew I shouldn't like this flying game,' he announced ruefully. 'It's worse than the roundabouts on 'Ampstead 'Eath on a bank holiday.'
"For goodness sake stop that Yankee drawl, or you'll have us all doing it before you've finished."
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Re: Biggles in Spain

Postby Wanderer » 06 Jun 2017, 14:49

Think I can answer that with this:

http://www.britishpathe.com/video/hamps ... ndabout%3B

A roundabout was a popular fairground entertainment. Guaranteed to make you dizzy!
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Re: Biggles in Spain

Postby Kismet » 06 Jun 2017, 14:49

Roundabouts are playground / fairground rides that go round. Carousels are a sort of roundabout.

Children's ones in playgrounds are self propelled, but you could get a fair old speed going on those of my youth.
Fairground roundabouts are motorized. They might have cars to sit in, motorbikes, giraffes and zebras to sit on. They are often for very small children.
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Re: Biggles in Spain

Postby kylie_koyote » 06 Jun 2017, 14:54

Ah ha. Yes, thank you, I understand now.
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Re: Biggles in Spain

Postby Fairblue » 06 Jun 2017, 15:49

Remember the roundabout in Spitfire Parade that Taffy had bought?

Bertie stroked his chin and gazed at the ceiling reminiscently. ‘He bust a roundabout one day, I remember — it was his own. He’d bought it.’
‘What in the name of heaven would he want with a thing like that ?’
‘It all came through an argument in the mess as to how fast it would rev. up. Poor old Taffy decided to find out — and you’d be surprised how fast it went when he gave her full throttle.’


Same thing.
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Re: Biggles in Spain

Postby Frecks » 06 Jun 2017, 15:51

Yes but it does seem rather a strange story - where would you get a roundabout from and where would you put it. It sounds as though that was an mechanical one rather than just running alongside it until it got up speed and then jumping on.
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Re: Biggles in Spain

Postby kylie_koyote » 06 Jun 2017, 18:47

Another question. In the beginning, when they've jumped ship and first reach land, they are in Barcelona. Biggles says:

'We're in Barcelona,' announced Biggles. 'That's the famous statue of Christopher Columbus,' he added, indicating the column. 'He came here after discovering America. It's years since I was here, but if I remember right, the station is over there on the far side.'

When was Biggles in Barcelona? At the end of "Flies Again" they are in Egypt, and they state their next port of call is Benghazi, and then on to Paris. So presumably Biggles went to Barcelona some time in the 'lost years'. Has anybody got any other clues?
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Re: Biggles in Spain

Postby Frecks » 06 Jun 2017, 19:09

No I think you are right about it being some time in the "lost" years as I do not recall them going to Barcelona in the earlier inter war books. Another thing that always puzzles me is the mention of Barcelona nuts - I have never heard of them and Ginger did not see any in Spain. It says he ate hundreds of them when he was a boy but they seem a strange item for a mining village in the north of England in the 1930s.
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Re: Biggles in Spain

Postby kylie_koyote » 06 Jun 2017, 19:22

Frecks wrote:No I think you are right about it being some time in the "lost" years as I do not recall them going to Barcelona in the earlier inter war books. Another thing that always puzzles me is the mention of Barcelona nuts - I have never heard of them and Ginger did not see any in Spain. It says he ate hundreds of them when he was a boy but they seem a strange item for a mining village in the north of England in the 1930s.


According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, they are a type of hazelnut:

https://www.merriam-webster.com/diction ... lona%20nut
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Re: Biggles in Spain

Postby Frecks » 07 Jun 2017, 08:07

That is interesting KK. I am still surprised foreign nuts would feature in a 1930s mining village.
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Re: Biggles in Spain

Postby Fairblue » 07 Jun 2017, 09:10

Frecks wrote:That is interesting KK. I am still surprised foreign nuts would feature in a 1930s mining village.


Barcelona nuts are a Spanish variety of hazelnut, from the same family as the cobnut. I used to live in an old mining village in Gloucestershire and had a huge cob nut tree in my garden. There is no reason why either the hazelnut or cob nut wasn't grown locally near Smettleworth and it's more than likely Ginger was referring to eating these, seeing no need to make a distinction, or rather, WEJ saw no reason to. It would have been just as easy to scrump nuts as it would have been apples.
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Re: Biggles in Spain

Postby Frecks » 07 Jun 2017, 13:13

Well I did not know that FB! It is amazing what you learn about on this Forum. I have plenty of fruit on my market stall in the Village but I do not have any nuts at all - I will have to look out for some to add to the market.
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Re: Biggles in Spain

Postby tiffinata » 17 Jun 2017, 12:49

Might have stopped there on the way back in Biggles Flies East?
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Re: Biggles in Spain

Postby kylie_koyote » 14 Jul 2017, 19:06

While I was in Spain, my father-in-law loaned me a book about the Republican side during the Spanish Civil War - the side for which Ginger and Fred were fighting while in the trenches. This is, of course, the side that lost to Franco eventually.

The book was called "Vivencias de un Piloto-aviador, 1936-1939, y otros relatos historicos" (translated: Experiences of an aviation pilot and other related stories).

Anyway, there were several photographs which I felt were likely to be similar to what Ginger experienced during his time in the International Brigade.

Here's a photo of the International Brigade - perhaps Ginger and Fred Summers are in the ranks somewhere:

2515

And some of the squadrons, perhaps Jock and Cy are among the pilots pictured:

2514 2513 2512 2511

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Re: Biggles in Spain

Postby Fairblue » 14 Jul 2017, 19:14

Lovely photos, KK. It's nice to see what it was really like.
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Re: Biggles in Spain

Postby Kismet » 14 Jul 2017, 19:33

We have an ex- politician / tv presenter called Portillo who is part Spanish. I have checked to see if he is related to the pilot Portillo in your pic but probably not, as although his father was a Republican, he stayed as a non-combatant so he wouldn't have to kill any of his brothers who all fought on the other side.
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Re: Biggles in Spain

Postby Indian Civil Service » 15 Jul 2017, 14:23

Kismet wrote:Roundabouts are playground / fairground rides that go round. Carousels are a sort of roundabout.

Children's ones in playgrounds are self propelled, but you could get a fair old speed going on those of my youth.
Fairground roundabouts are motorized. They might have cars to sit in, motorbikes, giraffes and zebras to sit on. They are often for very small children.


There's a lovely old one outside the Smithsonian castle on the Mall in Washington DC. It has a blue dragon that was my favourite ride.
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